Monday, December 17, 2007

TNC Micronesia Program and Kimbe Bay Participate in SEM-Pasifika Training

Freda Paiva, Conservation Research Assistant, and Annisah Sapul, Community Conservation Specialist, from the TNC Kimbe Field Office and Mae Bruton Adams, MIC Coordinator, TNC Micronesia Program, spent 1 week in Galahi, attending the first SEM-Pasifika Training of the trainers workshop.

The objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of the participants as SEM-Pasifika trainers, to provide participants with methodologies and procedures on socioeconomic monitoring, based on the SEM-Pasifika; and finally to receive input on the SEM-Pasfika draft.

The workshop was a success in many ways. It not only provide the trainees with tools to successfully implement a socioeconomic monitoring projects and allowed the participants to provide feedback on the SEM-Pasifika, but it created a greater appreciation of socioeconomic monitoring and its importance in the improvement of site management. It also fostered an opportunity for the participants to learn from the participants and their areas of work. It created an atmosphere of learning for each of the participants as they shared their experiences in their areas of work, as well as provided an occasion to develop ties to foster networks amongst the different agencies. SEM-Pasifika training also provided an opening for future cross training activities between TNC staff in the Micronesia and Melanesia programs.

SEM-Pasifika Workshop

After 2.5 yearsof discussion and collaboration, the Pacific region now has a draft se tof socio-economic monitoring guidelines that incorporates indicators used by the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) Network, TheSecretariat of the Pacific Community, and the Global SocioeconomicMonitoring Initiative (SocMon) into a user-friendly format.

On October 29-November 2, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) co-organized a training on socio-economic monitoring in the Pacific region (SEM-Pasifika). The training workshop also served as a field test of the draft SEM-Pasifika guidelines.

The workshop was held in Galahi, Papua New Guinea, following a regional conference on conservation and the communities. Attendees hailed from Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Papua NewGuinea, Solomon Islands and Indonesia. Seven Paupa New Guinea local community members also joined the training from our field sites of Bwasitau, Sawasawaga and Sunaleilei villages.

The training itself went very well-- after a day and a half of learning background information in the classroom, the participants split intot hree groups and each group was turned loose on a local community. Each group actually undertook the seven steps of a socio-economic assessment starting with defining goals and objectives and ending with making recommendations for adaptive management. As an example, Sawasawaga village had recently implemented a no-take marine reserve in exchangefor construction of a new school. The group surveying in Sawasawaga decided to focus their survey questions on community expectations for and attitudes toward the new marine reserve. Villagers reported seeing increases in certain species such as sea cucumber within the reserve but also expressed some safety concerns-- the location of the marine reserve forces villagers to travel much further by boat, sometimes in poor weather conditions, in order to catch fish for consumption and income.

For the field test on the draft guidelines, the participants provided agreat deal of constructive criticism to streamline and improve the draft guidelines. This input will be incorporated in the coming months before finalization of the SEM-Pasifika guidelines.

(The pictures were taken by Michael Guilbeaux, CCN)